Smartphones Aren't Ruining Your Eyes

Photo: Julia, Reshot

Blue light from smartphones might be interfering with your sleep, but there’s no evidence that it’s blinding you, despite ad claims and, occasionally, headlines implying it is.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology spelled it out recently: No, Blue Light From Your Smartphone Is Not Blinding You.

That was in response to a study published this winter that found blue light, plus a chemical naturally found in certain eye cells, could damage cells. The catch: Researchers did not use any actual cells from our eyes, because our eyes have defences against exactly this sort of damage. (They were studying a question unrelated to eye health; The Verge has more on the purpose and meaning of the experiment.)

The words “smartphone blindness” appeared in the title of a different kind of study last year, but this referred to a temporary effect that can happen if you look at a screen with one eye while keeping the other closed.

Other research, such as the study that inspired the scary headlines above about a "global epidemic" of sight loss, involves rats exposed to extreme amounts of light.

Bottom line, if the people who specialise in eye health aren’t worried, I’m not worried.

The AAO doesn’t even recommend blue-blocking glasses or filters, because they haven’t been shown to be effective and we don’t know what side effects they might have in the long term. They do recommend keeping your phone out of bed, because the blue light messes with your sleep, and not staring at your phone for hours on end because it can cause dry eyes.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!

Trending Stories Right Now